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Where a Child can fall in Love with God

St Augustine said, “Our souls cannot rest unless they rest in God” The world is full of noise and distractions that keep us from seeking and hearing God in our lives. Where can our children find a quiet space to slow down and hear God who is already within them.

The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, an approach to the religious education of children ages 3 – 12, is coming to our parish. It was developed in Rome over 50 years ago by Sophia Caveletti and Gianna Gobbi. It was inspired by the Montesori method of education using a hands on approach allowing the children to hear and follow their inner teacher who is the Holy Spirit. Presentations are given to the children in the areas of Scripture, Liturgy and prayer, and the Mystery of Death and resurrection. It answers the child’s silent plea “Help me come closer to God by myself”. Instead of “pouring in” all that we know about our Faith into the child, the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd calls forth the responses of the child to the Holy Spirit. St. Augustine says that “a person cannot teach another the mystery of God, they can only help another seek it.”

The Atrium, which is what we call the room they come to, gives them a quiet and ordered environment with materials beautifully displayed. During their session they choose to work quietly with the materials that have been presented to them. It is a place of work, study and prayer which leads the child into contemplation of God. It gives them the opportunity to fall deeper in love with Jesus our Good Shepherd who calls them each by name and leads them into the fullness of His Kingdom. For them, it is the room before the church which helps them be able to fully participate in the life of the larger church community. People have commented that children in Catechesis of the Good Shepherd are reverent, have a deep desire to know God and the Catholic Faith, are genuine in their prayer life, desiring to pray often, are peaceful and are joyful.

Our religious education program here at Our Lady of Guadalupe has implemented this method for the 2013-2014 school year beginning for children from 3 years old (& potty trained) up to 1 graders will prepare to celebrate their first reconciliation/confession). We hope to eventually serve preschool through 12 years old, including sacramental preparation years.

I invite you to prayfully consider how you might join us in the work of bringing this method of catechesis to our parish. We will be needing volunteers of all ages (12 to 100) to train as catechists and assistants, help with making materials, maintaining the Atriums, fundraising or just support us financially and/or with your prayers. All training will be provided. For more information on the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd go to: www.cgsusa.org


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